I wanted to share with you all that we have no plans to buy our daughter toys for a whole year. She was born in the fall and we brought her home hoping that we could handle being new parents. I tried to hold off on purchasing small things, knowing that we would get gifts from our friends and family. My husband and I discussed not purchasing toys for our daughter until she was older. We figured that we would be just adding to the clutter while feeding our own consumerism itch. We have stuck to this plan for the most part only caving and purchasing a small toy to use up the balance of a gift card. Before you call me a monster for neglecting my child – think about this; how many toys does your child get from grandparents, friends and relatives? If it’s anything like my family, you will get more than enough. My daughter is 9 months old and has 7 toys, some are soft and some play music and she has played with all of them. At this rate by the time she is 5 years old and wants specific things she’ll probably have over 60 toys.
My plan for toy management:
I’m not a heartless ice queen and know that having something to play with is extremely important for a child. I was a kid once and have fond memories of playing with marbles and stuffed animals. Keep in mind that I am a minimalist. This isn’t some journey or life changing step by step program that I’m taking – it is simply who I am. Less is more: less things = less time spent cleaning = more time for leisure. I get rid of the things that I do not use. I plan on doing the same thing for all of my child’s possessions. Of course I’m not going to go straight from ‘you haven’t touched this doll in months’ to ‘time to donate all of your toys.’
My plan for keeping the toys under control is to keep 10 toys readily available for play. The rest will be tucked away in small storage bins ready to be rotated in when a toy that is in use becomes disregarded. When my daughter gets bored of a toy I’ll put it away and pull out one that she hasn’t seen for a while or once she is able to communicate what she wants to play with she will have her choice of what to keep out and what to put away.
At the moment there are a few places around my house that toys are kept. We keep one toy in the parent (our) bedroom – this is because we will hangout in this room as I get ready for work, a few toys are kept in the living room since this is where we spend most of our leisure time, a few toys are kept in the nursery (calling it a nursery makes me feel a little bit like Mary Poppins) these are mostly to entertain during the mornings where I have to run around like a crazy person and feel guilty popping the baby in the crib for 5-10 minutes, so I give her 4 toys to play with – what’s funny is she usually opts to chew on her blanket instead of playing with the stuffed animals or plastic books. I did keep a toy or two in the kitchen but she really likes playing with measuring cups and plastic container so I moved the toys away and have been rotating Tupperware and other utensils that are baby safe.
Of course my baby is still a baby and doesn’t really care how many toys she has, as long as she is entertained. As she gets older we will see how my practices work. I’m striving to keep it minimal as opposed to keeping it organized. Less toys means that it is easy for my daughter to pick them up every night – complicated organization means that mommy gets to spend time sorting and organizing children’s toys. And I can definitely think of better ways to spend my time. Not to downplay the importance of a great organization system but keeping the house clean should be easy or it won’t happen, at least for me. If I had to take my dirty clothes down stairs every time I was done wearing something, then my floor would be covered in dirty clothing. Instead I keep a laundry basket and our dirty clothes (mostly) live there until it is time for laundry. Some people have the willpower to spend the extra time every night doing chores but I am not one of them. I spend my predetermined amount of time on household chores and if things don’t get done in that X amount of minutes then I leave it alone and then think about ways to make chores more efficient. No one should need to spend an hour ever night to keep their house in order – if you do then you need to spend a little time revamping your system.